MANILA, Philippines – Count on Justin Brownlee to make the right decision when the game is on the line.
Brownlee passed up on the game-winner and instead assisted Christian Standhardinger as Barangay Ginebra swept San Miguel with an 87-85 win and booked its finals ticket in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, March 29.
“He’ll go out to make the play – the winning play, not the winning shot,” said Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone. “Sometimes, it’ll be the winning shot, but he’ll go out there to make the winning play.”
The game tied at 85-85 with under 30 seconds remaining, Brownlee appeared set to taking the last shot as he asked for a clear out and drove past Beermen counterpart Cameron Clark.
But that turned out to be a ploy, with Brownlee attracting three defenders underneath the basket before he passed it to Standhardinger, who calmly flicked the ball into the hoop for the final tally with four seconds left.
The three-time Best Import then forced Marcio Lassiter to miss his game-tying jumper, capping a string of crucial plays that started with Brownlee giving Ginebra an 85-82 lead after draining a tough shot over two defenders.
“Whether it be a pass or whether it be a screen or whether it be a rebound, he’ll make the winning play. That is what makes him special,” said Cone.
Brownlee no longer surprised Cone with his heroics as he powered through his lowest scoring game in the playoffs this conference to lead the Gin Kings’ to the win, the first time the Beermen got swept in a best-of-five clash.
Limited to 22 points on a 9-of-21 shooting and coughing up a conference-high 6 turnovers, Brownlee made his presence felt in the other departments with 14 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
“He struggled all game. We all saw it. And then he is Michael Jordan in the last two minutes of the basketball game. It is kind of typical of Justin of what we come to expect from him,” Cone said.
Brownlee and the Gin Kings play the waiting game as they face the winner of the other final four duel between TNT and Meralco in the best-of-seven finals starting on April 9. – Rappler.com
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